by Justin Panos
Basics Issue #12 (Jan/Feb 2009)
British Columbia resident Tooryalai Wesa was recently chosen to be the governor of Kandahar province in Afghanistan where most of the Canadian armed forces are based. Wesa, a 58-year old agricultural expert, claims that he can tackle the social ills and violence that has plagued this dangerous region. “I always wanted to be the bridge between two of my home countries, Afghanistan and Canada,” Wesa told the CBC.
Born in Kandahar City, Wesa studied Agriculture in Kabul, Beirut, and Nebraska before obtaining his PhD from the University of British Columbia. Wesa was minister of higher education in Kabul in 1989-1990 for eight months. He has been living in Canada since 1995. Despite his background, many dispute the legitimacy of this appointment.
Residents have expressed concerns over the qualifications of a man who has been out of the country for over 10 years. They feel that he will not represent their interests as he will be working primarily with other appointed officials and reconstruction ‘experts’ rather than working with the people to address their needs. Furthermore, Wesa was selected by Hamid Karzai, the current President of Afghanistan and his childhood friend. Karzai himself was initially appointed, not elected to serve the people and did not enjoy popular support outside of Kabul. It is said that he only won the 2004 election because of endorsement by George W. Bush, the backing of the US army and other occupation forces, and official media smear campaigns against his opponents. His campaign was partially funded by his younger brother, Ahmed Wali Karzai, believed to be a key player in the heroin trade.
The legitimacy of any elections or governing officials in a country under the occupation of NATO forces and the Canadian army needs to be seriously called into question.
The fact that Hamid Karzai, himself appointed with U.S. backing, needed to install a Canadian citizen to govern Kandahar should be a sign to Canadians that the corrupt officials running Afghanistan are not running the country in the interests of the Afghan people, but in the interests of the occupation forces.